Brookings register | Brookings Wildlife Federation to hear about grassland restoration at Good Earth State Park
BROOKINGS – The Brookings Wildlife Federation will hear about grassland restoration at Good Earth State Park during their monthly Infolunch on August 6. Speakers will be SDSU Professor Emeritus Carter Johnson and SDSU Graduate Student Luke Zilverberg. The two men are associated with EcoSun Prairie Farms, a unique non-profit company dedicated to showing the values of the prairie.
The Infolunch will take place at noon at the Outdoor Adventure Center, 2810 22nd Ave. S. A light buffet will be available for a voluntary donation.
The South Dakota Department of Game, Fisheries and Parks recently contracted with EcoSun to establish a native prairie on 106 acres of land in Good Earth State Park near Sioux Falls.
EcoSun restored and managed a 500-acre tall grass prairie, named “Prairie Farm” to demonstrate to the public and farmers the beauty, biodiversity and agricultural potential of the prairie. Prairie Farm produced grass hay for cattle, prairie-raised beef, native plant seeds, and abundant wildlife habitat for prairie birds.
“We welcome the opportunity to apply what we have learned about prairie restoration to one of South Dakota’s newest and most popular parks, located just a few miles from nearly a third of the people of South Dakota, ”Johnson said.
When the project is completed, the site will have restored a meadow with hiking trails.
The landscape of Good Earth State Park was once protected by a tall grass prairie dominated by barbon, one of the grasses that for centuries supported bison and the village of Oneota of about 3,000 people living there. in domed lodges and occupying land along the Iowa and South Dakota sides of the Big Sioux River.
EcoSun will restore the prairie over a three-year period. The sequence begins by determining the plantations representing the historical foliage of the prairie, then preparing the ground for planting, obtaining appropriate mixtures of native prairie seeds, sowing the seeds, increasing biodiversity by growing rare and showy herbaceous plants in a greenhouse and in plots, and annual weed control. Further plantings will follow in the second year, with occasional weed control and occasional mowing.
In Year 3, existing hiking and walking trails will be extended into the restored prairie and interpretive signs and brochures will be prepared, along with any vegetation management needed to assess the plantation as “established”. A mission of this park is to educate visitors about the Native Americans who resided where the park is now located and to encourage visitors to experience nature, similar to that which existed when Native Americans populated the area.
The Infolunch is open to the public. The BWF is affiliated with the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation. The BWF is in its 40th year of providing information and conservation activities to the community of Brookings. For more information, contact BWF President Spencer Vaa, 695-6867.